2022 Boise Idaho Real Estate Blog

7 Questions You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

Main Treasure Valley Life

A home inspection is a vital part of the real estate process. It provides you with necessary information about the current state of the house, as well as any recommended actions to take in order to fix or improve the house. Buyers use them to help learn as much as they can about the property when they aim to purchase it. It is also common for sellers to use inspections to learn what needs to be fixed before they put it on the market.

Here is a list of 7 questions that you should ask the home inspector to make sure you are getting the full picture of the inspector and the home.

What is the inspector’s background?

Before the inspection takes place, take some time to learn about the home inspector. Your real estate agent may have recommended them, which is a good start since they have a working relationship with them. Ask about the inspector company:

  • Are they licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What will the report details look like?

Ask about the inspector:

  • Are they licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • How long have they been an inspector?
  • What is their background? If they worked in a trade or were an engineer or builder, the experience will help them identify any problems.

What are the most important fixes?

It’s common to get a report from the home inspector that has a laundry list of fixes to be made. However, ask the inspector to identify what needs to be addressed first. Plumbing, electrical, foundation, and roofing tend to be the most important because they have the biggest impact on the health and livability of the house. If these need fixing, buyers can use this at the negotiating table. Sellers can also look at getting these fixed before putting the home on the market to get the most from the sale. These big-ticket prices tend to have the highest ROI for the sellers.

What are the most expensive fixes?

This ties into the previous point but it is still worth asking. Once again, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, foundation, flooring, plumbing, and electrical tend to be the most expensive fixes as well as the most important to get repaired if they need it. If the inspector identifies that these need fixed, it is important to bite the bullet and get it fixed (either as buyer or seller). If you are a seller and you need to get out of the house sooner than later, you may have to offer a concession on the sale price to the buyers in order to reduce the repair cost.

What is the state of the HVAC systems?

HVAC systems (heater and air conditioning) are important for the comfort and livability of the house. In a place like Idaho the gets all four distinct seasons, heating and air conditioning are both going to be needed throughout the year. Having these systems in working order is very important, so if they are aging or need repairs, get them fixed ASAP.

Is there any asbestos, radon, or lead?

For older homes prior to 1970, asbestos and lead are more likely to be present in the home, and are health risks that need to be taken care of. Asbestos is likely to be in the insulation and flooring, and lead is most likely going to be found in the paint.  Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause cancer.

Ask your inspector if they offer these tests as part of the inspection or if they are an add-on. Some states require tests for these substances. Regardless, we highly recommend getting these tests done and it is worth the cost. If these substances are found, abatement is costly, but it is worth it to secure the health of your family.

How is the foundation of the house and the soil under it?

The most important components of the home are its foundation and structure. Buyers want to be sure that the home will stand strong while they live there. A cracked foundation and support structures can cause numerous problems such as settling, water damage, pests, and mold. Make sure the inspector takes a look in the basement, crawlspace, and attic to help identify any of these problems.

In addition, the foundation is only as good as the soil it sits on. If possible, have the inspector check the soil around the house. If they don’t inspect that, ask for a recommendation for a company that does soil tests. The soil should be checked for the risk of damage from floods and earthquakes, which can severely damage the entire property, as well as any contaminants.

Is there anything “beyond the walls”?

The term “beyond the walls” describes problems that may not be seen very easily. These can include signs of neglect in the house, shoddy repairs, or parts of older homes that may not be up to code. This is more of a way for a buyer to get more recommendations about that to fix and watch out for.

Posted by AndrewS at 2/6/2021 12:44:00 AM

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